The aerospace industry has grown exponentially in recent memory. The transport of goods and services has become a major player in the global economy. But, with that growth has come increased regulation. In particular, regulations in data and file sharing led to the creation of ITAR, International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
At FTP Today, we have become experts in ITAR compliance, providing companies with ITAR compliant software solutions. As the Aerospace industry has grown, the influence of ITAR has grown with it, making the importance ever more valuable.
In this article, we break down the major reasons that ITAR compliance is important for aerospace companies.
While organizations in many industries are only concerned with the United States’ regulations in their space, the aerospace industry is an inherently international industry. Approximately 926 million passengers flew on U.S. airlines alone in 2019 – an all-time high. That number is likely to continue to grow in the coming decades. And these flights aren’t just domestic flights. Thousands of international flights occur every day.
So, why would aligning with a series of U.S. guidelines like ITAR be a wise move in an international industry? First, the U.S. is arguably the international leader in the aerospace industry. Seven of the ten largest aerospace companies in the world are U.S.-based companies. Thanks to this leadership role, the U.S. sets the standards for aerospace best practices.
Thus, it’s vital for both domestic companies and international companies that want to have a foothold in the U.S. to align with U.S. aerospace standards and affiliated security standards like ITAR. In terms of both operations and production, it’s vital that companies meet the basic security standards that the U.S. government has published. Compliance with ITAR ensures aerospace companies can operate in the U.S.
In most industries, security is a major concern. No one wants their sensitive data compromised. However, the aerospace industry has the added component of human safety. A security compromise in another industry could mean the theft of proprietary information, while a security compromise in the aerospace industry could mean loss of human life.
Advances in technology have led to greater automation and complexity. As new developments in technology continue to emerge, there’s a greater potential for data breaches and hackers to have access to more advanced technology, too. New technology can also lead to greater potential for weaknesses that can be exploited. This makes the need for stronger data security measures and compliance with guidelines like ITAR more essential than ever.
Following ITAR guidelines means data – and human lives – are protected. Consider the potential for disaster if a data breach were to happen. With more flights occurring now than ever before, hackers have a greater number of opportunities to disrupt flight plans, commit theft of digital data, or even hijack an airliner from afar.
ITAR was designed to offer the fundamental baselines for data security in defense industries. Having a centralized set of recommendations makes it simple for organizations to identify what security measures should be in place and understand how to keep these measures in ongoing alignment with regulations.
In addition to the positive business impact and protection of data and lives that come with aligning with ITAR regulations, meeting these standards also helps you avoid the consequences of noncompliance. Following the September 11, 2001 hijackings, aerospace security has significantly increased, with numerous measures including the creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You’ve likely witnessed this increase in security even on personal flights.
The growth in security measures demonstrates the importance the U.S. government has placed on keeping people safe, and that responsibly is shared with the aerospace industry. So, what can happen if you fail to comply with data security standards?
First, a data breach can lead to the loss of human life, like we mentioned above. It could also lead to loss of business. If you can’t keep your data secure, many companies may not trust you with their data or their business, either.
You’ll also face noncompliance fines. These can be anywhere from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars. For example, in September 2019, the aerospace and defense company L3Harris Technologies paid $13 million in fines for export violations. Fines of this magnitude could cripple many businesses. In addition to fines this high, you could also be subject to criminal charges in the most extreme cases.
Failure to comply with ITAR regulations could mean the end of your business. This is a risk many companies don’t want to take, nor should they. The potential for consequences provides ample motivation to adhere to data security best practices outlined in ITAR.
So, how can aerospace companies become ITAR compliant? The first step is to establish compliance measures within your organization. Research ITAR guidelines carefully, and identify where changes need to be made.
Next, you should implement an ITAR-compliance solution to store and share your most sensitive data. Having ITAR compliant solutions in the aerospace industry will keep far from regulations and put you ahead of your competitors. Top solutions have compliance measures already built-in and will go a long way toward making your business compliant with government regulations.
Finally, you need to maintain ongoing compliance efforts. ITAR compliance isn’t a “one and done” effort. It takes an ongoing commitment to data security. Run regular analysis on your compliance measures to ensure they’re working properly and preventing breaches. You should also stay up to date on ITAR regulations. These guidelines will be updated in the future to address emerging threats. It’s essential that your data security practices reflect those updates.
As an ITAR Compliant software provider, FTP Today can help your business remain ITAR compliant. To get started, consider downloading our ITAR Compliance guide.
Founder of FTP Today and an expert in secure file transfer and Internet protocols. A software and IT geek since a young age, Martin has successfully led his companies through the digital age by spotting market niches and filling them with quality IT services.